Robert Kirkman Compares Adapting Invincible To The Walking Dead And Talks That Brutal Premiere Twist
Spoilers are down below for the already released episodes of Amazon's new superhero series Invincible, so be warned!
It's somehow been over 18 years since Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker first delivered Invincible to an unsuspecting and superhero-filled world. While it didn't revolutionize the genre in the way that The Walking Dead helped spark a zombie boom, Invincible remained a consistently fun, engaging and brutal series throughout its 144 issues. Thankfully, Amazon's adult-animation adaptation is a worthy, bloody and star-studded counterpart to the source material, and Kirkman talked with CinemaBlend about that head-exploding premiere twist, as well as how bringing Invincible to TV compared to the Walking Dead process.
Though there had long been talks about various ways in which Invincible could expand beyond its comic origins, the animated Amazon series is the first of the projects to come to fruition, while the live-action take from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg is very much still in the pipeline. And it sounds like the wait didn't exactly hurt the development process. On top of being older and having more informed hindsight than he had while co-creating AMC's The Walking Dead with Frank Darabont, Robert Kirkman noted that working from a completed storyline was an advantage he had with Invincible that wasn't possible with TWD. When I spoke with him during the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) aTVFest in February, he told me:
It may seem silly to point out that building a house from a blueprint is a lot more effective than coming up with designs as one works, but sometimes that kind of wisdom can only be learned through experience. It's not like Robert Kirkman would have put off the creation of the Walking Dead TV series for another nine years just so he could conclude the comic book first. But in having adapted TWD for TV before that comic was even half-over, Kirkman learned many of the ups and downs that come with balancing straightforward adaptations with completely new storylines and characters. And it sounds like he was able to put those lessons into practice with Invincible.
However, even though Invincible might be a more generally faithful iteration of its comic form than Walking Dead has been over time, that doesn't mean Robert Kirkman and his creative team are laying things out exactly as they went on the page. As the series premiere's final showdown between Omin-Man and the Guardians of the Globe proved, there are more surprises than meets the plopped-out eyeball.
Just ahead of Season 1's three-episode premiere on Amazon Prime, Robert Kirkman and Invincible's stars spoke with press, at which point I asked the creator about the premiere's ending revealing Omni-Man, Mark Grayson's dad, to actually be a villain. More specifically, I asked if having Red Rush's eyeball pop out of his head was a nod to Steven Yeun's infamous death scene on The Walking Dead. Here's how he answered:
Given that U.S. animated series rarely get as violent and bloody as their anime cousins, it was a disturbing breath of fresh air to watch that final fight in the premiere, as well as some of the bone-crunching fight scenes in later episodes. In some cases, those scenes are even more vicious to watch than Walking Dead's horror-driven moments, though obviously not completely, since Greg Nicotero's special effects and makeup on TWD are endlessly gross.
During our SCAD aTVFest conversation, I asked Robert Kirkman about Invincible's high levels of orifice-gouging violence, and whether or not anyone at Amazon had any advice about such things. Here's how he answered:
To be sure, had Invincible's first episode ended with Omni-Man killing the Guardians of the Globe in a car accident, or by injecting them with a slow-acting poison, it would not have made the same kind of mental dent that one gets from watching J.K. Simmons' character utterly decimate the team of superheroes. Viewers need to see him become a murderous monster to truly understand that yes, he is a murderous monster. But he'd never hurt Mark, right? RIGHT?
New episodes of Invincible drop on Amazon Prime Video every Friday, so make sure to keep your eyes on the prize before Red Rush starts putting his eyes on everything.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.